South Africa News

Fire claims three lives in Western Cape settlement

The year has ended in heartache and tragedy for the Western Cape’s Masiphumelele community.

Two men and a woman died in a fire at the informal settlement near Kommetjie in the early hours of Saturday.

Crews from the Kommetjie fire station were the first to be dispatched to the fire in Sobukwe Road after being alerted at about 2am.

The city’s fire and rescue service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said they had to call for additional support.

Six fire engines and three water tankers were used to put out the fire just before 6am.

The bodies of the deceased were found in the debris.

Several structures were also destroyed, displacing a number of families.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

It is the second deadly fire in the area in the past few months.

At the end of October a fire swept through the settlement leaving one person dead.

It destroyed 100 dwellings and an estimated 430 people were affected. Then, in late November, another fire ripped through the settlement, but caused no fatalities.

It did, however, leave 1,800 people homeless.

Meanwhile, another festive season fire has rocked the Western Cape’s Du Noon community.

No fatalities have been reported, but the destruction is vast.

According to Ali Sablay of Gift of the Givers, the organisation was on site there on Friday as a fire had destroyed a number of structures.

“Gift of the Givers teams are busy with assessments, and many community members have lost all of their possessions,” he said, adding, “The mood was sombre with community members rushing out of taxis and running towards the disaster site hoping their homes were still standing.”

Some had thrown themselves on the debris and burst into tears.

“Christmas was already a struggle as some of them had to save to buy new school uniforms and stationery which burnt out in seconds. These community members have nothing to look forward to this new year but to rebuild their lives.”

On Saturday, Gift of the Givers will distribute urgent humanitarian aid, including hot meals, bottled water, blankets, mattresses, toiletries and baby care packs to this vulnerable community.

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